June 10, 2011 9:00 AM | Mister Raroo
[GameSetWatch columnist Mister Raroo wraps up his E3 coverage and reports on the third day at the convention. Included in the write-up are mentions of Power Rangers, booth babes, coffee, and other such pressing topics. Make sure you take a look at Mister Raroo's first and second day reports, too!]
This statue that caught my attention. I noticed it while walking to the convention center in the morning. On first glance I thought it was a businessman slamming his head against a wall, but it turns out it’s supposed to be some type of artistic metaphor representing something about success in business. However, since I don’t often “get” art, I’m going to just pretend my initial impression is accurate. I was beginning to feel a bit like that statue.
I can see how so many people in the video games media and industry become jaded about attending E3. It takes a major toll on your mind and body. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed when my DSi’s alarm started its attempts to awaken me at 7:30 am.
All my limbs felt heavy and my eyelids were refusing to open. However, the end of E3 was in sight, and in spite of my fatigue I was still enthusiastic to see more at the show. I forced myself to get up and prepare for one final day. Once out of bed, I actually felt pretty good.
However, I was feeling rather guilty about being away from my family because my toddler daughter Yoshie had been sick the last couple of days. So, while I was fretting over trying to find a chance to play the Wii U, my sweet little girl was back home feeling miserable. It made me blue that I wasn’t home to snuggle with her and help her feel better.
When I first entered the convention center, there was a huge line stretching almost to the entrance. Everyone in line had luggage with them, and I realized these were all the attendees who had already checked out their hotels but didn’t have a place to stash their bags while they cruised the show floor. What a hassle! But props to the Los Angeles Convention Center for having an organized solution in place.
It was decidedly less crowded than it had been the previous two days. I guess a lot of people had already left to return home. It felt fantastic to have some elbow room as I was walking around the booths. I don’t think my big backpack bumped into anyone all day.
Adam Robezzoli and I met up to hang out for a bit and our conversation went from video games to our jobs and finally to parenthood. Typical dads! Adam was a blast to kick it with and he even gave me an extremely rad “4-Player coat hanger” that has four arcade joysticks to hang your jackets or hats on (which I later left in his car by accident, unfortunately). We parted ways but planned to meet up later in the day for a coffee date we’d been planning for months.
Walking around the show floor, I realized I’d pretty much already seen all the games I had really wanted to see. I went back to check in on a few favorites, such as Otomedius Excellent (which Adam caught me playing!) and Picture Lives!. Even though there were a billion games on display at E3, I only found a very select few appealing. Most of the big budget, high-profile games didn’t have any impact on me.
After another day of free lunch in the Media Hospitality area (this time with no feeding frenzy thanks to far less games journalists being present), I went to spend a few minutes visiting with GameSetWatch overlord Simon Carless. I had met Simon in person very briefly at San Diego Comic-Con last year, but it was a treat to be able to finally sit down and enjoy some less hectic in-person time. I forgot to bring my copy of Looney Tunes Racing for the PlayStation to have him autograph, though!
All day long I kept thinking about my family, especially when I went to visit Namco Bandai’s booth to get my picture taken with the Power Rangers Samurai. Oh, how my son would have gone bananas if only he could have been there to see them! I have to admit they looked super cool when I was standing next to them. Go Go, Mister Raroo!
To my surprise, there were hardly any other people waiting to get their photo taken with the Power Rangers. Instead, I think it was more likely that most of the attendees were anxious to see booth babes, instead. It was more than a little pathetic to see so many men hastily pull out their cameras whenever they saw young girls wearing skimpy clothes. Sadly, this was a common sight at E3 this year.
I really felt bad for the booth babes. Most of those women had to wear particularly demeaning outfits. For example, Tecmo-Koei’s booth babes were dressed in leather shorts and tops which left little to the imagination. But the worst of the bunch was Nyko’s girls, who were wearing what was hands-down the ugliest outfits of all the booth babes at E3. The company was also giving away tacky red wigs as swag, and far too many attendees were donning them as they walked around.
But it gets even more despicable. One booth was had an inflatable jumper, the likes of which you’d find at a kids birthday party, and attendees were told they could get 30 seconds to jump with the “beautiful and very single” (actual quote!) girl inside. And dudes were lining up to do so! I tried to take some photos of that freakshow but all the men in line turned and gave me angry looks. Maybe they didn’t want their wives or girlfriends to see the photos if it went online. Oh, wait… they probably didn’t have wives or girlfriends!
When the afternoon rolled around, Adam and I met up once again with only one thing on our minds: coffee time! We assembled an elite team for our coffee-drinking mission by adding Rex Crowle, Asif Siddiky, and Paul Owens to the mix. It was, to drop a Power Rangers reference, like forming a coffee-drinking Megazord.
Adam led us on a crazy ride through the busy streets of Los Angeles and I’m a little surprised we arrived in one piece. But after navigating our way through Koreatown and who the heck knows where else, we reached our destination: a gem of a coffee shop called Balconi Coffee Company. I had my first real cup of coffee ever (it was something of a challenge to drink but still very good!) and had a lovely time chatting with the fellows. Afterward we stopped by Giant Robot 2 to make buttons and eat free cupcakes.
The sun was starting to set and I needed to hit the road, so I said my goodbyes to my coffee buddies and drove off into the sunset. Actually, I kind of zig-zagged in the general direction of the sunset because it took me much longer than I care to admit to find the correct freeway entrance. Los Angeles traffic and street layouts make things far too confusing for me. But once on course, I made good time and was home in a couple hours, excited to give hugs and kisses to my wife and kids.
”Oh, and One More Thing…”
Don’t go away just yet, dear readers. Here are one-sentence impressions of my Top Five Favorite Games of E3 2011:
Tin Prize: Rhythm Heaven (Nintendo, Wii)
If the rest of the game is anywhere near as wonderful as the three stages available in the demo, this has the potential to be the best yet in Nintendo's delightful series.
Copper Prize: Luigi’s Mansion 2 (Nintendo, 3DS)
A new haunted mansion to explore, significantly more interactive and detailed environments, and the same lighthearted, spooky atmosphere that made the first game a winner are all present and accounted for.
Bronze Prize: Otomedius Excellent (Konami, Xbox 360)
I’m predicting this game will sell very few copies, which is a shame because despite its technical and design flaws, Otomedius is a cheerful, enjoyable horizontal shooter that I kept returning to play again and again.
Silver Prize: Picture Lives! (Nintendo, 3DS)
Perhaps the most intriguing demo of this year’s E3, this bonkers little eShop-bound game caught me off guard with its strange premise, playful control scheme, adorable characters, and off-kilter presentation.
Gold Prize: Pixeljunk Sidescroller (Q Games, Playstation 3)
A successful combination of all the right elements from the arcade shooters I grew up playing with the modern conveniences I’ve come to appreciate.
[Mister Raroo is a happy husband, proud father, full-time public library employee, and active gamer. He currently lives in El Cajon, CA with his family and pets. He had a great time at E3 this year. You may reach Mister Raroo at email@example.com. For all your Game Time With Mister Raroo needs, visit Club Raroo!]
Categories: Column: Game Time With Mr Raroo